Rachelle Dekker offers a thought-provoking novel of freedom and forgiveness with her latest novel, “When Through Deep Waters.”
After Alicen McCaffrey suffers an unimaginable loss, she travels to Red Lodge, Montana, to spend time with her childhood friend, Louise. While there, Alicen begins to see and hear children who aren’t really there. Concerned for her sanity, Louise and Alicen’s mother, Betty, encourage her to participate in an at-home program at Clover Mountain Retreat Center, where she is personally treated by owner Victoria Flowers and psychiatrist Dr. Cormack Wells.
As Alicen struggles to determine if she’s truly crazy — or really seeing a young team of ministering spirits — Victoria begins to behave more and more oddly. As Victoria’s troubled past is more and more revealed, Alicen’s life becomes more and more endangered.
“When Through Deep Waters” is a deep and dark novel, filled with complex and disturbing characters. It is also filled with incredible themes and lessons, especially the theme of light versus darkness (or shadows). It repeatedly reminds us of grace, forgiveness and healing; the necessity of letting go of shame; logic can and will fail us; sometimes we needs to just be like a child in our beliefs and faith; and we must search out our true identity.
Dekker’s latest novel is a real eye-opener to the human condition, to humanity itself and the very depths of our souls.
Readers will definitely see a strong influence from her father, author Ted Dekker, particularly his Circle Series with references to white bats and lakes with mystical powers. So fans of Mr. Dekker will enjoy this novel immensely, as well as fans of Mike Dellosso, Travis Thrasher, Frank Peretti and Robin Parrish.
Another great offering from the Dekker family!
Five stars out of five.
Tyndale House Publishers provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.
Author of When Through Deep Waters
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She won a Christy Award for her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Choosing, which was followed by two more books in the Seer series: The Calling and The Returning. Rachelle graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair.
1. What inspired you to write When Through Deep Waters?
Red Lodge, Montana itself actually. I was there with a friend, visiting the tiny town, and immediately knew I wanted to place a story in this setting. It had an almost “forgotten” feel to it, and I couldn’t get my mind to stop running through the possibilities of what I could do there. Everything unfolded from that moment.
2. How do you expect this story to resonate with your audience?
It’s a story about loss, and I don’t know anyone who can’t relate to losing something. A person, a part of themselves, their way. Loss is universal, so I think readers will understand Alicen pretty immediately. And the hope is, as she journeys back to her true identity after loss has infiltrated her life, that the reader will connect with her path as well.
3. When Through Deep Waters represents a genre shift from your previous novels, the dystopian Seer series. What led you to pursue a new direction, writing psychological and supernatural suspense?
I always write for myself first. I’ve said I write because it’s the best way for me to learn. So the journey my characters take is always one I myself am exploring and trying to understand. As I grow my characters, themes will grow too. The “genre shift” wasn’t intentional. I just find a story— or better, a story finds me — and then I build a world around it, and in this case it felt suspenseful. It made more sense for the character and her journey of discovery in this setting. So I followed that leading.
4. You have described When Through Deep Waters as “a story about identity” and a journey toward remembering that “you are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), which were also prevalent themes in the Seer series. Why are these themes important to you?
Because it’s the only journey that exists. We are often called to remember our identity in Christ. Our identity in love. Agape love. A perfect love. How often we all forget this. I forgot very often, and so I am constantly returning to the truth of Jesus in Matthew 5:14, and asking myself what that really means. What would it mean to be “the light of the world”? I can’t imagine I’ll ever stop writing about this, and I can’t imagine it will ever stop being connectable for readers.
5. What lessons or truths do you hope readers will take away from When Through Deep Waters?
As stated above, I hope readers are challenged to examine what being “the light of the world,” as Jesus says we are, means. I hope they question the way they look at themselves and those around them with eyes that aren’t clouded by shadows, but instead are fixed on light. On Christ. On who they are in him.
6. What role does faith play in the story?
There was a time when I thought I wanted to write fiction just for the sake of good fiction. But as I’ve grown I’ve found myself drawn deeper into wanting to pair my fiction with faith, so that the two can’t be separated. So faith plays as much a role as anything else.
7. As an author, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
The characters in this novel are practically strong. And mostly women. That was a blast! From the protagonist to the antagonist, writing dynamic, dimensional, broken, yet perfect women was EVERYTHING! I will miss writing each of them.
8. This novel explores some difficult events and topics — personal tragedy, grief, and shame. Why did you choose to tackle these tough issues?
We live in a world of opposites. Polarity. Ups and downs. Equal reactions. And I wanted to make the light in this novel blinding, transformative, and all-consuming. So the darkness had to be equal. The pain real, tangible, and tragic. I set out to throw my protagonist into hell, in order to provide a way for her to find the Kingdom of Heaven. And I think I did that here.
9. How did your personal experience inform this story?
Like I mentioned before, we all understand loss to some degree. I’m no stranger to it myself. So I just amplified that and brought to the table my own questioning of what it meant to be the light of the world. And let’s be honest, I’m dramatic, so it goes without saying I wanted to do it in a really dramatic way.
10. Which character did you personally relate to the most? Which character surprised you the most?
I don’t relate to one character “most” in this novel. There’s a little in each lead female that I connect with. It was fun to take pieces of myself and scatter them throughout the cast. It helps make each one real to me. Betty surprised me the most, and she ended up being one of my favorite characters to write. When I started the novel, she was only in a couple places, but I knew the moment I wrote her she was meant to play a bigger role. Honestly, that was a first for me.
11. What led you to choose the title When Through Deep Waters?
This was a collaborative effort with the publisher. We had several different titles, and this idea came up and everyone connected with it pretty quickly. I knew it was the title when it got everyone excited.
12. What are some future projects you’re working on?
Well, I’m writing. I’m always writing, and waiting. Waiting for inspiration, for the spirit to bring me stories. But I don’t want to say too much about anything specific. You’ll just have to stick around to see what comes next.